Ajoy Roy, a retired physics professor of Dhaka University (DU), spoke to bdnews24.com on Tuesday.
“Crossfires are extrajudicial killings. I keep a conscience so I can’t possibly want that,” said the 76-year-old, stressing the need to catch terror suspects alive.
Mukul Rana alias ‘Shariful’ alias ‘Sharif’, who was said to have been a top operative of banned militant group Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), was recently killed in a ‘shootout’ at Dhaka.
Police said he was one of those who hacked Avijit to death near TSC intersection at Dhaka University more than a year ago. Avijit, who lived in the US, had faced death threats for his views on religious extremism.
Sharif’s death, which followed the gunning down of other suspected militants in police custody including Faizullah Fahim, another suspected ABT member killed during a ‘shootout’ at Madaripur, has raised questions about the way police handle suspects.
The BNP has demanded judicial inquiries into these incidents.
The professor said he did not support such killings but believed the situation may have prompted such action.
Ajoy Roy said, “I will be happy if the killers are put on the stand. The court will punish them after examining the degree of their crime. The families of the victims will not get peace until that happens.
“Some unique situations can lead to encounters, sometimes policemen get killed too. We didn’t want it that way. There should have been an effort to catch them alive. That could have solved the mysteries surrounding the killings.”
“Police could not do it, and there must be reasons for it. Perhaps such a situation occurred at the time,” he said.
“Our police are saying these militants are more intelligent, are better trained, and have better weapons than them.”
Sharif, who police claimed had directly taken part in the murder of Avijit on Feb 26 last year, was killed in a ‘shootout’ with Detective Branch officers early on Sundayat Khilgaon’s Meradiya in the capital, following a nationwide crackdown on militants.
Police also released video footage from a CCTV camera showing Avijit and his wife Rafida Ahmed Bonya, who was also injured in the attack, being followed apparently by Sharif on leaving the Ekushey Book Fair of last year.
However, a Satkhira family identified Sharif as Mukul Rana, who they claimed was picked up by DB officials from Jessore four months ago.
But police said, Sharif, an important member of ABT’s ‘operations wing’ had several aliases – ‘Sakib’, ‘Saleh’, ‘Afir’, ‘Hadi’.
The photos of Avijit’s six suspected assassins police had released in May with a promise of awards for information about them, had included the image of Shariful (Mukul).
Avijit’s father Ajoy Roy on Tuesday said he was convinced that Mukul was using the alias Sharif, but he was the killer.
“The law enforcers prepared the DNA profiles of three killers a year ago. Their parents’ information was also in them. This was done in a scientific way, no questions about that. They had the killer’s DNA profile. That’s why his (Sharif) identity can’t be questioned.”
He hoped police would try to catch alive the two others who directly took part in killing Avijit.
Ajoy Roy also demanded progress in the investigations into the murders of other secular writers and bloggers and publisher Faisal Arefin Dipan.
“All the investigations have been on for a long time, but we are not seeing any results. The killers have not been arrested and are not being brought to justice.
“As victims, we can never be satisfied with that,” he said.
He also criticised the DMP commissioner for recently saying that the killers of Avijit had fled the country. “If they had fled, where did he (Sharif) come from? Giving a statement like an idiot!”
Ajoy Roy also wondered how the suspected militants who were ‘under surveillance’ managed to escape to another country.